“I wish to propose for the reader’s favorable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true, I must, of course, admit that if such an opinion became common it would completely transform social life and our political system; since both are at present faultless, this must weigh against it. I am also aware (what is more serious) that it would tend to diminish the incomes of clairvoyants, bookmakers, bishops and others who live on the irrational hopes of those who have done nothing to deserve good fortune here or thereafter. ” Bertrand Russell
People, why do you entertain the myths that you do?
The 4 topics that conventional people tend to mythologize most about would be the matters of eschatology, death, question of immortality of man, how the world came to be and how it shall end, if at all.
Secondly, human relationships. We all know that most of us need emotional affirmation to feel good about ourselves, man isnt a solitary animal, even I am willing to admit this. Yet the myth in this direction that I find most pernicious is that we tend to think that if we find just the one right person, or come across just the right circumstances in our personal lives, everything will be cured like magic. Exactly like magic indeed, at least thats the way we tend to think of it. I, for one, as a logician tend to believe that every event has a cause. Everything that happens in this world could be explained with pure reasoning, there is nothing that we need to think that 'just happened'.
Thirdly, the miscellaneous myths that I would like to challenge. I believe that man interprets everything anthropomorphically. Or in other words, we think that the world revolves around us. We impose our personal characteristics onto things that we can not explain. That is why we for a long time have thought that the sun goes around the earth and that the earth is flat, since nearly all landmasses that we came across were flat. Mythologians who lived in the mountains thought that the terrain of our planet is generally rugged and uneven, yet those who lived in the fields and by the lakes thought that the whole world is just a one big plain. And as for our gods, they are thoroughly imbued in our personalities. The Greek gods of the Olympus resembled the political leaders of Athens, and the society of those gods functioned very much like the Athenian did. Same can be said for Romans and even for the more sophisticated versions of such mythologies like Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. Christian god is much like Jesus, Muslim God much like Muhammed, the Buddhist sages that are highly reverenced to this day seem to have a lot in common with the Budha. Figures, how we notice that the ENTJ Mohammed's religion is far more structured than that of Jesus and Buddha. Both of whom were INFJs. To conceal this, they proposed that they were made in the image of their gods and not the other way around.
Okay...I suppose I can't prove that this is not true. But what reason do we have to suppose for this to be true? Is there anything in our theorizing about this world that could lead us to accept such ideas? No, there isn't. First we accepted the premise that there is a god, entirely on authority (uncritically), and then we looked for the most efficient way to make it seem reasonable. This is not search for truth because we are not looking for the most sound ideas, but are just trying to justify something that we have no reason to believe in whatsoever. First we set up our premises and then the conclusions may follow, not the other way around. And finally, the last comment on how man anthropomorphizes the universe--we try to look at everything through the standpoint of common-sense. We impose our basic hunches and instincts onto the complex problems that we wish to solve. We feel like we have free will, like we can make decisions based only on our private thoughts and feelings and then assume that on the higher metaphysical level, there must be free will! Just feels so intuitive that we cant miss it. No..no..our basic hunches and instincts should definitely be questioned.
And lastly, political ideals. If eschatology is off limits to us, at least that we can't experience it, we might as well bring down heaven to Earth. What I am talking about is 'Christian Commonwealth', the whole world bowing down to Islam, Communist and Fascist Utopia and Anarchy. I aspire to show that none of those political ideals are acceptable and are results of man anthropomorphizing politics, just as truly as he anthropomorphized eschatology. Or in other words, trying to imagine how the world would conform to our tastes and prejudices instead of trying to understand it the way that it really is.
I invite everyone to try their hand at solving the problems that are presented here. This is not ivory tower business, and the problems discussed here are serious public issues that have been plaguing humanity hitherto. All are encouraged to participate.
Now, lets get straight to business.
"It is always wrong for anyone, to believe anything on insufficient evidence" W.K Clifford
Eschatology: Before we can start talking about the world to come, we ought to talk about this world first. As indeed our ideas about the world to come could not have derived from anywhere but our observations of this world. Why do we believe in god(s)? Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes may offer an explanation. At the beginning of the Leviathan, he says, people were uncouth and bewildered, they were only concerned with their own survival. How do we define good? Desired by me. So, obviously, the fundamental drive in human nature is getting ourselves what we want. Good is what we like, evil is what we dislike. What is the ultimate good? Obviously getting your way whenever you'd wish, or becoming god. (This wasn't in the Leviathan, I just used his ideas as a stepping stone to come up with this one..) Hence, at one point, a ruler took over. He was far superior in intellect to his subjects and they could hardly find fault in him. He represented their father figure very clearly, so they deified him. He did not hold up for very long, there were internicine struggles, and eventually the tribe was without any clear-cut authority. We ended up with having many people who had some measurement of power in the tribe who aspired to become the main leader, and at that point we believed in many gods. A few centuries down the road, when our communities became more organized, we now abandon polytheism and shift to monotheism. Hence, god was no more than a symbol for the powerful and reverenced, and our heavenly symbols corresponded well with the powerful and reverenced on earth. Irrefutable evidence could be found for this in history, most graphically evinced in David Hume's Natural History of Religion.
Why do we believe that the universe had a creator? Because we, with our finite minds think that everything had a creator. We create and design things on daily basis, thats the only way we know how to bring things into being. Go figure, since we know no better, thats how everything must have been conducted to begin with. This is exactly like how people who lived in the mountains thought the whole world was like a mountain and those who lived in the fields thought that the whole world was like a field. Don't we think that infinity exists? Our thoughts could be finite, but that is because our being is finite, as we can only think for so long. But can we really say, that thought (or the ethereal substance we process with our thoughts is finite too), we know we are attempting to grasp it somehow, but how can we put limits on it if we are not even sure what we are dealing with!?
Aha! That must be the turning point here. It means that the universe isnt finite, but rather that only we are finite. Time, space, heat, color and all human notions, they are projected by us with our cognitive apperception. This has been affirmed by the 20th century physics, and first discovered by Immanuel Kant in the 18th century. Kant posited that the noumenal world, the pure essence of the universe is infinite. Yet we can not experience the infinite world because our minds are finite. Hence, we incept everything that there is through the scope of space, matter, time and so on. Anyhow, for the sake of this inquiry, we do not need to dig any further into Kantian metaphysics.
The bottom line is that man anthropomorphizing everything that he comes across is a sufficient explanation for the bizarre myths about the afterlife that we enterain so far. It is no surprise that some Muslim sects assert that heaven is no more than paradise for warriors where every sensual pleasure of theirs is appeased. And many Biblical readings of the Christian heavens seem to be much more accomodating to SJs than any other type. One strong ruler whose authority is never questioned who takes care of all, who only seems fair, yet noone bothers to question exactly how fair he really is. And of course they all know their place and are there is never any confusion about who is supposed to be doing what. And its the same thing over and over again for eternity.
Eschatology, is indeed the least profound and the least deserving topic of serious attention, as it is the oldest and most primitive. I think, however, that the more we fear something, the more likely we are to mythologize about it. And the more we are afraid, the more anthropomorphic we become, as when we are in that state of mind, we become less objective and project our qualities onto everything we think about. Figures, we fear death the most, so we start mythologizing a lot about life after death, and since we've lost all objectivity, we force our prejudices onto eschatological entities to a greater extent than we did on matters of politics, relationships and so on...
Human Relationships: What tends to motivate us to behave in a way that we do? I'd say, as again, when we review what Thomas Hobbes has come up with, getting what we want. Psychological egoism stands firm. Or in other words, everything that we do, consciously or unconsciously is inspired by selfish motives. Not everything is consciously selfish, figures, Mother Theresa isnt out to serve herself in a conventional sense of the expression. But rather the case here is that she helps others because she enjoys helping them. That doesnt take away from her self-seeking ventures, but on the contrary affirms them. She is becoming the person that she wants to be by serving others.
Why do we have an institution of marriage? In the past, I'd speculate, when it was a dog eat dog world, to a much greater extent than it is now. Today, if you're not fit, you will starve to death, but back then you could be eaten alive. Today you get expunged perhaps for not being adaptable or clever enough, but back in the day for not being physically tough enough. Men were physically stronger than women and hence if women wanted to survive, they needed to find someone who could protect them physically. So they decided to bond with a man who would guard them for the rest of their life. SJs tend not to like change very much, so they prefer to do things exactly the way that they did last year. The older the practice is, the more they will value it. They dont have to make sense or be congenial, they just have to give them a sense of security. And the older the practice is, the more appealing it is to the conventional man. Hence, the message that we get here is, preserve traditions under all circumstances. This is along the lines of how pork was banned in Arabic countries for sanitary reasons, yet now this ritual has been sanctified and people vehemently insist on the practice continuing even after it has become clear that it serves no good purpose. There, ther is our need for security once more.
As we learn with Thomas Hobbes, we value people only to the extent that we need them (psychological egoism). Hence we want close relationships with people for two reasons, need for depth (N), and need for emotional closeness. (F) We tend to sustain long-term friendships because the two tend to be perennial needs for us. Yet, we should not look for those untill our inner identity is stabilized, this is crucial for extroverts who tend to be fickle. As then, they will change and it will turn out that they dont need the relationship anymore, and then the intimacy shall evaporate. EPs will likely leave, yet EJs, will stay and pretend that they still value the relationship out of a sense of duty.
If close relationships are N and F business, where does this leave the STs? They marry to maintain tradition, do things as seem the most common-sensical (S-going by memory, doing what feels most natural, following authority, maintaining status quo). We marry just because 'thats what you do, and thats all there is to it", and we stay married because it will be too complex of a situation breaking up a marriage, they tend not to like complexities. SJs stay married because they have even more difficulty with change and complexities than SPs, and obviously for security reasons.
That is all fine, I don't have anything against these kind of coping strategies to deal with complexities of life and the quest for security, but there is no reason to confuse this with true love.
SJs tend to marry at the youngest age and stay married for longest periods of time. That is because marriage has nothing to do with intimacy, it is about security. SJs do not enjoy close emotional bonds nearly as much as the status of being married and how the convention starts playing in their favor, and of course the rituals, those they perceive as sacred.
Sensors can not perceive emotions intuitively like NFs and NTs tend to be able to, hence they do not know if they are loved unless it is expressed in concrete terms. Marriage, presents, kisses and hugs and so on...is how they know that they are receiving affection. In the absence of those things, they may be completely unaware of the emotional aura of the environment. That is why they tend to think that marriage is essential to intimacy. One can not do without the other. As they cant have any idea of what intimacy is without a very concrete symbol representing it.
So, whats the problem with marriage? If you really care deeply about that person and want to remain intimate with them for the rest of your life, dont you usually tend to trust that in such a situation they also care deeply about you and wish to keep the intimacy? Than why exactly must they be bound to an obligation to not be romantically involved with anyone else?
We use the institution of marriage to impose sanctions on the other person. To maintain status quo. To keep their F ideas from getting carried away too far. To ensure that everything goes as planned, as institution of marriage often forces people to behave almost exactly in a way that society expects them to. You get stuffed into the husband or wife role and if you behave in a way that goes against the mores, you will likely be held to obloquy.
That is the reason why SJs gravitate towards the institution of marriage more than any other type. It is not about furtherance of one's romantic interests, it is chiefly about security.
Jean Paul Sartre (INTJ), a renowned existentialist author of the 20th century carried on an intimate lifelong relationship with Simone De Beauvoir (INFJ). They were closer and more candid than most married couples one can find, yet when they were young, they decided not to get married at any point. And moreover, they trusted one another to such a high degree that they never attempted to prevent one another from marrying or pursuing intimate relationships with others. Of course both may have felt that this may have been a threat to their relationship, yet, unlike those who married, they have resisted the temptation to become possessive of one another. Their intimacy was firm and candid till the very end because honesty and autonomy were highly vouched for in their relationship. They did not need to pretend to be something that they were not like the married couples did in order to fit this or that role or be in tune with a set of particular expectations.
So my argument against the institution of marriage, in condensed form, is as follows.
-Purpose of human relationships is to pursue emotional intimacy.
-Marriage tends to take away from this because people tend to become possessive of one another.
-In order for the quest for emotional intimacy to be as successful as possible, people must learn to accept each other for who they truly are. In the institution of marriage this tends to be difficult to do because people are forced into roles and external expectations that prevent them from being who they truly are. Moreover, since people tend to be possessive of each other, it is difficult for the two to be honest in the relationship as they are often pressured to be something that they are not to fit the expectations of the partner. They are forced to fit those expectations because they can not get out of the grasp of their possessive partner, as breaking up a marriage tends to be a headache.
-Both parties tend to sacrifice much of their autonomy within the institution of marriage, and this makes it difficult for them to be true to themselves. They get ossified in conventional ways of carrying on a relationship and often confuse their need for security (the real reason they stay in marriage), for their pursuit of romantic interests. Marriage is unlikely to be conducive to one's emotional needs being satisfied because it tend to compromise autonomy and as a result of this honesty. (One cant be true to self upon loss of autonomy and inability to regain independence)
Marriage is an Fe-ish institution. Most germane to the SFJ way of going about relationships. Personal criterion is clearly defined and can be expressed in prescribed ways externally, and is unlikely to change. This is not satisfactory because Fe does not represent one's inner being. It is the introverted functions that do.
Emotional obligations for lifelong relationships are not desirable. Two people pursuing an intimate relationship should first and foremost allow for one another to be all that they want to be. If they, based on their private thinking decide that they want to continue the relationship, then that is indeed legitimate. Yet if they make this decision out of an external obligation, they are compromising their inner being in favor of the external standard. Thus, not being true to themselves.